Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation | May 8, 2017
Springtime brings renewal in nature. It’s a time of abundance when new life and new growth emerge, continuing the ancient cycle that defines the outdoor world. Unfortunately each spring, well-meaning people interrupt nature’s balance because they want to “rescue” newborn and young animals that, at first glance, might appear to be abandoned.
“If you find newborn wildlife while in your yard or in the woods that appears to be alone, chances are an adult animal is nearby and is simply waiting for you to move along so they can take care of their young,” said Melynda Hickman, wildlife diversity biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
People who happen across a hatchling bird or a young fawn are urged to leave them and move away from the area. “It is common for fawns to remain in a safe place while does feed nearby, and interfering with that always causes more harm than good. It’s also best to leave birds, young squirrels and other wildlife alone as well.”
Biologists say that people trying to help can actually be more stressful on young wildlife than if those people would have simply left them alone.
“The willingness among well-meaning sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts to want to help is a good thing, but choosing to allow nature to run its course is often the best help we can offer young wildlife,” Hickman said.
Not only is it best to not interfere in nature, it also could be illegal. Many people don’t realize there are laws that protect most wildlife species, and those laws prohibit people from handling or “rescuing” wildlife.
Artists wishing to participate in this year’s Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp design competition have until 4:30 p.m. Aug. 31, 2017, to submit their artwork. The Northern Shoveler is this year’s selected subject for the prestigious contest that has been conducted annually since 1980 by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The winning artwork will serve as the design for the 2018-19 Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp, which can be purchased by waterfowl hunters in the state and stamp collectors nationwide. The winning artist will receive a $1,200 purchase award courtesy of NatureWorks, a Tulsa-based conservation organization.
The state waterfowl hunting license is required to be carried by anyone hunting waterfowl in Oklahoma, unless exempt. The license costs $10 and will go on sale June 1, 2017, online at wildlifedepartment.com, in person at the Department’s temporary headquarters, or from hundreds of hunting license vendors across the state.
Any waterfowl hunting license buyer may request a physical stamp in person at the Wildlife Department’s temporary headquarters, 2145 N.E. 36th St. in Oklahoma City. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
The Wildlife Department receives no general state tax appropriations, so revenue from waterfowl license/stamp sales is an important source of funding for in-the-field habitat work to benefit waterfowl and other wetlands wildlife. Since Oklahoma’s waterfowl stamp program began, about 12,000 acres of habitat has been purchased and many thousands of acres of habitat has been enhanced, restored and maintained for the benefit of waterfowl.
The 2017-18 Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp will feature a green-winged teal in artwork created by Mark S. Anderson of Sioux Falls, S.D.
Contest entries must be original two-dimensional artworks rendered on a flat surface (not canvas) in acrylic, oil, watercolor, pencil, pen and ink, tempera or any other similar media. The artwork must be oriented horizontally and sized 6.5 inches high by 9 inches wide. Each artwork must be matted with white matboard with an outside measurement of 9 inches high by 12 inches wide. Artwork cannot be framed or under glass but can be protected by a removable covering such as acetate.
Voting by the public will take place online and count as part of the scoring. Department judges will then consider each artwork in terms of anatomical accuracy, artistic composition and suitability for printing. Any background habitat depicted must be typical of an Oklahoma locale.
Entries are limited to one artwork per artist, and a $20 nonrefundable entry fee is required. Mailed entries should be sent to Duck Stamp Competition Coordinator, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152. Ground deliveries should be made to 2100 N.E. 37th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73111.